In Which Jenn Dispenses Parkless Disney Advice

The Dress Shop

Disney’s The Dress Shop, aka A Store Full Of Things I Want.

If you know me, you know I’m all about Disney resorts. No, seriously, if you know me at all, you know.

Case in point: a couple weeks ago a coworker of mine emailed me; she said she was going to be in Orlando for a single afternoon with her family and did I have any recommendations regarding what they could do in Walt Disney World without buying a park ticket? Clearly I was the person to ask.

Needless to say I dropped everything I was doing and assembled a quasi-exhaustive list of what a couple with a small child in tow might find most feasible when short on time. And just in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I’m passing this wisdom on to you! (Minor tweaks have been made to protect privacy and avoid date-specific times and events but this is basically it.)

  • WDW has two mini-golf courses on property, Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens. (There are also some full golf courses if that’s something you’re into)

  • The water parks aren’t cheap but they are cheaper if the weather’s warm.

  • The Magic Kingdom fireworks can be seen from the observation deck at the California Grill; they even pipe in the soundtrack. It’s a bit of a tough get but availability often opens up in the days before (Disney requires a credit card guarantor and charges for no-shows). I know it looks fancy, and it kinda is, but kids are definitely welcome.

  • Fort Wilderness has a campfire singalong with s’mores at 7pm; you don’t have to be staying at the campground. They play a Disney movie after.

  • Also at Fort Wilderness: I hear the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue is really fun! There are often 4pm shows so you could do that and then go to the singalong right after if you wanted.

  • I can’t vouch for the food but the audio-animatronic dinosaurs of the T-Rex Café tends to go over extremely well with the smaller humans. (Disney Springs)

  • The NBA Experience is purportedly where “all your basketball dreams come true.” I have exactly zero basketball dreams but maybe you guys have some? (Disney Springs)

  • Disney Springs also has bowling!

  • House of Blues often has free music in the afternoons (and paid evening concerts too, of course). (Disney Springs)

  • And if all else fails, you can just wander through Disney Springs and pick a store or restaurant at your leisure. Some suggestions: The Dress Shop is super cute if you like vintage and Basin has bar shampoos I like (no plastic!). At The Art of Disney you can commission your own Disney drawing and watch it being sketched. If you like Indiana Jones you should definitely hit up Jock Lindsey’s (get an Anything Goes).

  • Bonus: this is NOT toddler-friendly but just in case you’re big Star Wars fans, Imma put THE VOID here. If it’s not busy it’ll only take about 30 minutes so you could kid swap. (Disney Springs)

I’ve never expressly written anything like “do not reproduce without permission” or whatever on my blog posts. I feel like it’s implicit. But if you ever receive a similar inquiry from your coworker, feel free to copy/paste the above into an email and continue on your merry way. They’ll never know!

What’s your preferred non-park day agenda?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!


  1. Oh, yeah, good call! I was also super into the fireplace in the Palace Library at Kidani – I can only assume AKL proper has something similar. AKL is awesome in general; if only I hadn't fallen so deeply in love with the Skyliner I would make it my default resort!

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